The Abuja Division of the Federal High Court, Tuesday, allowed two Leadership Newspaper reporters, Tony Amokeodo and Chibuzor Ukaibe, accused of forging a document purported to have emanated from the Presidency, to go home after they deposited N1million.
They were released on bail after they pleaded not guilty to a six-count charge that was preferred against them by the Federal Government.
Aside depositing N500, 000 each, trial Justice Ademola Adeniyi ordered the accused persons to provide two sureties who must not only be an owner of a verifiable landed property in Abuja, but must swear an affidavit of means.
The Federal Government had alleged that the accused persons who it charged alongside the media outfit, committed felony to wit: “forging of document titled Bromide of the Presidential Directive and place same on the front page of Leadership Newspaper of April 3, 2013.”
It told the court that they knew that the said document was false, but published same, “with the intent that it may be used or acted upon as genuine and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 467 of the Criminal Code Act Cap ‘C’ 38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.”
Besides, it alleged that the accused persons conspired amongst themselves and committed felony by forging/making of a false document, having on it the seal, signet or sign manual which purports that it was a presidential directive from the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Though the Federal Government, hitherto, listed four accused persons in the previous charge it filed against the Newspaper house , however, it eventually de-listed the 3rd accused, Taiwo Omilani, who it said was at large.
Meantime, the newspaper organization which was represented by one of the Group Executive Directors, Dr Mike Okpere, denied the allegation, just as counsel to the company, Mr Femi Falana, SAN, challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the suit.
Hearing on the substantive case was adjourned to May 16.